Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

As it happenedended1517383179

Trump's State of the Union 2018: President talks tough on North Korea and keeps Guantanamo Bay open as he lays out his American dream - as it happened

Mr Trump hails a 'New American Moment' in speech that also called for more co-operation between Republicans and Democrats

Clark Mindock
New York
,Alexandra Wilts,Jon Sharman
Tuesday 30 January 2018 21:30 GMT
Donald Trump at the State of the Union: 'This is our new American moment'

President Donald Trump took centre stage in the House chamber to deliver his first State of the Union address – an 80-minute speech that swerved between bipartisan rhetoric and expressions of his ‘America First’ agenda.

His address came less than two weeks after disagreements over immigration policy led to a government shutdown, and about a week before disputes regarding government spending could result in another closure.

Despite Mr Trump's calls for unity, the divisions over the issue of immigration bubbled to the surface during the speech, with Democrats booing Mr Trump as he described his aversion to the practice of 'chain migration' - when families members join those who have already moved to the the US.

The Democrat rebuttal of Mr Trump's speech, by Joe Kennedy III, involved a number of lines of Spanish during his emotional speech, telling childhood immigrants to the US that their country would not walk away from them. A reference to those left in limbo after Mr Trump ended a programme protecting them from deportation, which has become the main bone of contention between the two parties in recent months.

Please wait a moment for the live blog below to load. If you cannot see the blog, please click here

“To all the Dreamers watching tonight, let me be clear: Ustedes son parte de nuestra historia. Vamos a luchar por ustedes y no nos vamos alejar,” the Representative from Massachusetts said referiing to.

In English, he added: “You are a part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away.”

Mr Trump began his address by highlighting American heroism in horrific attacks and natural disasters over the past year.

He pointed out House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, calling him the “legend from Louisiana”, who survived a life-threatening shooting at a congressional baseball practice last June.

“In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people,” Mr Trump said. “But it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy.”

The President, who is said to have disparaged immigrants in conversations with those in Congress and his advisers, later said he was “extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, colour, religion and creed.”

Mr Trump also highlighted his accomplishments across the world, touting military victories against Isis.

“One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat Isis has liberated very close to 100 per cent of the territory just recently held by these killers in Iraq and Syria,” Mr Trump said.

He also had some tough words regarding North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying Mr Kim has brutalised his own people and must give up his nuclear programme.

“Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation,” Mr Trump said. “I will not repeat the mistakes of the past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.”

Mr Trump made no mention of the federal probe into whether his campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election, a controversy that is dogging his presidency. Mr Trump has denied collusion and has called the probe a “witch hunt.”

The speech was also short on details about Mr Trump's policy proposals, but the president sought to be optimistic, saying: "This is our new American moment".

The measured approach was welcomed by the public. A CNN/SSRS snap poll said 48 per cent of those surveyed had a “very positive” response to the speech and 22 per cent “somewhat positive.”


Welcome to our live coverage of Donald Trump's first State of the Union address.

We'll be building up to the speech at 9pm ET (2am GMT) and bringing you full reaction once the President has finished.

Jon Sharman30 January 2018 11:46

Mr Trump is expected to talk up his big tax overhaul as well as the US economy. Though it grew slightly less than expected in the most recent figures, it is still gaining jobs.

Jon Sharman30 January 2018 11:48

In his closing speech to the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos Mr Trump did just that, and while pushing for "fair" trade he told business leaders that now was the time to invest in America.

Jon Sharman30 January 2018 12:00

Presidents can invite guests to their State of the Union addresses, and their choices often reflect their legislative and other priorities.

Mr Trump has promised to tackle the MS-13 gang as part of his immigration policy, and among his and the First Lady's guests are the parents of Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens, teenagers who were killed by the gang in New York.

A string of military veterans have also been invited.

Police officer Ryan Holets, who adopted the baby of an opioid-addicted couple he met while on patrol, is also among the Trumps' guests. Mr Holets has been shot twice during his service in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the White House said.

Jon Sharman30 January 2018 12:10

A spelling mistake on some tickets issued for Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address to Congress has invited attendees to the “State of the Uniom”.

The affected tickets, issued by the Office of the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, are being reprinted and reissued.

Representative Raul M Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona, tweeted a photo of the ticket with the typo, mocking the US education secretary Betsy DeVos.

He wrote: "Just received by ticket for the State of the Union. Looks like @BetsyDeVosEd was in charge of spell checking…"

Jon Sharman30 January 2018 13:12
Kristin Hugo30 January 2018 16:37

Here's some more context, from the developing story behind the Nunes memos:

Kristin Hugo30 January 2018 16:40

A handful of Democrats are taking an extraordinary step and have announced they are boycotting Mr Trump's speech tonight. Here's a brief run down of those who has said they're going to skip the yearly event.

  • Rep Earl Blumenauer (Oregon)
  • Rep Frederica S Wilson (Florida)
  • Rep Gregory Meeks (New York)
  • Rep John Lewis (Georgia)
  • Rep Bobby Rush (Illinois)

The State of the Union boycott is not the first time that members of Congress have skipped out on a major political event in the Trump era. Last year, many Democrats opted to skip Mr Trump's inauguration in an incredible statement against the incoming president.

Kristin Hugo30 January 2018 16:49

If you're wondering what President Donald Trump is going to say this evening, check out this fantastic preview, based on a background briefing from the White House.

Kristin Hugo30 January 2018 17:02

There has been a lot of interest in the Democrats who plan on boycotting President Donald Trump's first State of the Union. But, he's far from the first president to be insulted during a joint session of Congress.

President Barack Obama, for instance, was memorably interrupted during his first speech to Congress in 2009 while saying that illegal immigrants would not be covered under his health insurance plan (which would later become Obamacare).

"You lie!" Rep Joe Wilson, of South Carolina, yelled at the President then.

Fact check: He wasn't. 

You can check out the video below. Any chance a Democrat yells at Mr Trump tonight? Only time can tell.

Kristin Hugo30 January 2018 17:10

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in